Mindfulness Meditation: School-Based Mindfulness Training Could Reduce Trauma And Stress

Dec 21, 2015 01:00 PM EST | By Maria Leonila Masculino

Midnfulness meditation has been proven beneficial to adults who are stressed and depressed. As more people exercise mindfulness to relax, a new study reveals its health effects among middle-schoolers, too.

Reuters Health reports a study published in the journal Pediatrics has revealed that students who took a mindfulness-based stressed reduction program at the end of a school day have shown reduced symptoms of trauma and stress than those who took regular health classes.

"High-quality structured mindfulness programs have the potential to really improve students' lives in ways that I think can be really meaningful over the life course," said study's lead author Dr. Erica Sibinga of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore.

According to researchers, children in the U.S. are at risk for traumas and stresses prompted by violence, community drug-use, multi-generational poverty, economic opportunities and limited education.

For the study, 300 students from grades five to eight in two public schools at Baltimore were assigned to attend to either a 12-week mindfulness-based stress reduction programs or regular health classes during school days.

Almost all participants were black and eligible for the school's free-lunch program - which is offered to those who are in financial need.

For the mindfulness program, the participants were given materials about meditation, the mind-body connection and yoga; practiced all the given techniques; and were involved in group discussions.

The mindfulness training urged students into "tuning in" than "tuning out" like other meditation exercises.

"It allows them to not only know what is happening, but to stop and take three breaths and figure out how they want to respond to what is happening the present moment," Dr. Sibinga told Reuters Health.

After the 12-week program, those who participated in the mindfulness program showed lower levels of general health problems, recurrent thoughts of negative experiences, depression, and other symptoms of trauma and stress compared to those who took regular health classes.

The researchers aim to help other students by spreading the mindfulness-based stress reduction program to other schools with different populations.

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